Do you see clear signs that your elderly loved one needs assistance with certain daily activities even though they deny it? Perhaps their grooming or hygiene isn’t what it once was, they’re more forgetful, they seem to withdraw from people or activities, or they’re losing weight. While it can be upsetting for older people to admit they need help, the reality is they may be at risk if they remain at home without regular in-home care.

Age-related physical and mental declines affecting our loved ones can be frightening for you and them, but they aren’t necessarily a sign your loved one must move to an assisted living or nursing home. Whether the decline is related to aging, illness, injury, disability, or another cause, home care can help your senior stay in the home they love, with a plan in place to ensure their well-being.

What is Senior Home Care?

Professional caregivers provide short- or long-term support to seniors so they can safely “age in place” in their homes while remaining as independent as possible. Depending on the senior’s needs, caregivers providing services may be aides, nurses, or physical therapists.

Senior home care may be nonmedical or medical-related. Medicare and most health insurance policies will cover specific medical home care but rarely pay for home care services that are not medically related. Long-term care policies, VA policies, and a few others may cover nonmedical home care. Check with the senior’s provider for coverage details.

Nonmedical services may include:

  • Help with basic activities of daily living (ADLs), including eating, bathing, dressing, grooming, hygiene, toileting and continence, and mobility.
  • Help with household tasks, including cleaning, shopping, cooking, laundry, pet care, and more.
  • Companionship, including transportation to social outings or appointments.

Medical services may include:

  • Physical therapy and other rehabilitation services.
  • Nursing care, including wound care, tracheostomy, injections, and ventilator care.

The Comfort of a Daily Routine

Many seniors enjoy the sense of security their daily routine provides. Living in familiar surroundings, knowing where everything is, and having easy access to personal possessions can prevent undue stress and strengthen an older person’s sense of autonomy. Enjoying their routine in familiar surroundings can be especially critical for loved ones experiencing memory or other cognitive issues.

Receiving assistance from the same caregivers who understand and respect your loved one’s preferred routine can be a great comfort. When the same people come to your senior’s home, your elderly loved one is more likely to form a close, personal bond with them. Strong social connections help lower the risk of cognitive decline, depression, and substance abuse in seniors.

Schedules for Senior Home Care Vary According to Needs

A quality home care agency will help you customize the schedule that best fits your loved one’s needs. Agency staff will perform a thorough assessment to identify the areas in which your loved one needs help, the number of hours required to perform needed services, and the level of care necessary. This evaluation will help determine if your elderly loved one needs assistance every day or a few days a week and whether a few hours on scheduled days, all day or around-the-clock care is required.

A personalized schedule considers the preferences and abilities of your loved one, including:

  • Their favorite daily routine.
  • What time do they like to get up in the morning and go to bed at night?
  • Whether they want to bathe or shower in the morning or at night.
  • Whether they need help performing all ADLs or just some.
  • If and when they enjoy taking a nap.
  • Preferred meal and snack times. Are there certain foods they particularly like or dislike?
  • When they take medications.
  • Favorite activities and when they most enjoy them.
  • Favorite TV shows, books, newspapers, or other media.
  • What times of day do they physically and mentally function the best?
  • What are their specific interests?
  • Do they have memory or other cognitive-related challenges?

What Schedule Best Fits Your Loved One?

Some seniors may need help at certain times of the day, while the needs of others may vary from day to day. Companionship is always an essential part of a caregiver’s visit, no matter what time of day. And providing transportation to social or cultural outings and appointments is also valuable.

Schedules may include morning, afternoon, or evening hours and may change depending on the day. Some seniors benefit from one or two full days of homecare each week, while others may need help several days a week at a particular time of the day.

A morning schedule may include the following:

  • Bathing or showering assistance.
  • Helping with teeth brushing or denture care.
  • Assisting with dressing and grooming.
  • Preparing a healthy breakfast.
  • Cleaning the kitchen and tidying the house.
  • Working together to plan the day’s activities.

An afternoon schedule may include the following:

  • Preparing a healthy lunch and snack.
  • Housekeeping or laundry while your loved one takes a nap.
  • Companionship or transportation to social outings, places of worship, or appointments.
  • Accompanying the senior on a walk or in other activities or hobbies.
  • May also prepare an evening meal for the older adult to enjoy later.

An evening schedule may include the following:

  • Preparing dinner and a snack for later.
  • Clean kitchen.
  • Help your loved one undress and get ready for bed.
  • Bathing or showering assistance.
  • Helping with teeth brushing or denture care.

Help with medication, pet care, and other needs can be scheduled where appropriate.

The services detailed above are home care services, which do not include medical services. Your loved one can also receive medical services at home, including wound care, injections, physical therapy, or other skilled care provided by a health professional. You can schedule medical services to fit the needs of your loved one and the availability of the health professional.

In addition to ensuring the home environment is safe and free from fall and other hazards, home caregivers can provide a wealth of benefits to your loved one. Many studies confirm mental stimulation, socialization, and maintaining as much independence as possible help older people live longer, happier lives.

A good caregiver is an invaluable asset to your loved one and your peace of mind. Home caregivers are alert to your loved one’s physical and mental health — ensuring they eat nutritious food, stay hydrated, engage socially, maintain good hygiene, enjoy activities they love, live in a safe environment, get some exercise, and flourish in familiar surroundings. Consistent schedules and consistent caregivers can provide the physical and emotional support your loved one needs as they remain in the home they love.

Contact At Home Harmony to learn how we can help you develop a personalized home care plan — your Harmony Plan — for your senior loved one.